To the Point for 3/2/06

9

IN A COUPLE OF MONTHS, Vince Young, the quarterback who led the University of Texas to the National Championship of college football, will become a very rich man.

Very, very, VERY rich.

He will sign a contract with a professional football, and the signing bonus alone will make him financially secure for the rest of his life — and probably also the lives of his children and grandchildren. He gets that money if he never plays a down in the National Football League, and he will also get paid when he puts on the pads and is a part of the team.

This past week in Indianapolis, Vince Young and other college football players came to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine. The event is a way for all of the professional teams to see the college talent that is available to be drafted into the pros without having to fly all over the country to do so.

They run sprints and lift weights and get poked and prodded by doctors. All of this because if a team owner is going to shell out multi millions of dollars on a player, he wants to know that the player is in top physical condition.

But what about a player’s mental condition? What about his educational abilities?

That brings me to Vince Young.

Every player that is invited to the combine takes an intelligence test. It grades every player’s mental capabilities on a 100-point scale.

Vince Young got a six.

I didn’t say a 60 — I said a six.

I ran off some sample questions of the test from the Internet and gave them to my seventh grader. She scored higher than Vince — much higher.

The question that is raised here is: should a team take a player’s intelligence into account when deciding whether or not to draft him? As one owner said on the Internet: “If I’m going to pay a guy $50 million — I’d at least like to know he can count to 50.”

Vince Young is without question one of the most gifted physical athletes that the NFL has ever seen. If you saw him play in the Rose Bowl this year, you know what he can do when he steps in the field.

But who failed Vince Young? He graduated from high school and got the necessary grades and standardized test scores to gain entry into the University of Texas.

While in college for three years, he made the “expected progress” through his educational course of study; and at no time was he ever ruled academically ineligible because of his classwork.

But when they tested him, he got a six.

Now my seventh grader is presumably operating at a higher level than Vince Young, but I doubt that she can handle junior level classes in college.

Is it the test? Players have taken it for years. The backup quarterback of the St. Louis Rams, who graduated from Harvard, got the highest score ever — but he’s sitting on the bench.

Does intelligence translate to the field of play? I don’t know, but I do know that long before Vince Young ever took that test in Indianapolis last week, somebody failed him educationally.

His family. His school. His university.

But, most importantly, Vince Young failed himself.